Will 'L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium' stick? 5 sporting venue name changes that didn't
Even Louisville athletic director Josh Heird slipped up once Monday during his news conference announcing U of L's new 20-year, $41.3 million naming rights deal with L&N Federal Credit Union, and the football stadium's name change as a result.
Heird referred to the facility — now officially L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium — as “Cardinal Stadium” before correcting himself.
“Old habits die hard,” he said.
Known simply as "Cardinal Stadium" since July 2018, the new name — promoted as "L&N Stadium" on new signage already starting to go up at the facility — will take some getting used to.
If reaction to the new name on social media is any indication, many still plan to refer to the stadium as ... Cardinal Stadium.
"I think I speak for everyone in the city when I say...we're still going to call it Cardinal Stadium lol," one commenter on The Courier Journal's Instagram post announcing the new name said. More than 80 people quickly liked the comment.
Louisville fans aren’t alone in their reluctance to immediately embrace a new stadium name. Here are five sports venues that changed names — that people still widely refer to by their previous names:
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Staples Center to Crypto.com Arena
From 1999 until 2021, the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, LA Sparks and LA Kings played at the STAPLES Center. During the more than 20-year stretch, the Lakers won six NBA titles, the Sparks won three WNBA championships and the Kings won two Stanley Cups. (The Clippers also made the playoffs 10 times.) The arena’s name was a (literal) staple in the LA community and one of the more popular attractions in Southern California. In November 2021, however, Crypto.com and AEG agreed to a 20-year deal to switch the arena’s name from STAPLES Center to Crypto.com Arena.
Cowboys Stadium to AT&T Stadium
‘Cowboys Stadium,’ home of the Dallas Cowboys, opened in 2009, though the name only lasted for four years. In 2013, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced AT&T had purchased the naming rights to the stadium. While team officials didn’t reveal the terms of the deal, USA Today reported the deal’s estimated value to be as much as $20 million annually for 20-30 years, or a total value between $400 million and $600 million.
While the Cowboys Stadium name only lasted four years, it resonated with fans and has been hard for some to let go of.
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Heinz Field to Acrisure Stadium
Changing the name of the home stadium of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt’s football team not only affected those fanbases but ketchup lovers everywhere. Having been the facility’s title sponsor for over two decades prior to the 2022 season, Heinz opted not to extend its naming rights deal with the Steelers. That opened the door for Acrisure, a Michigan-based insurance company, to purchase the naming rights for an amount the Heinz Craft Company said, in a statement, was “significantly more than we could justify.” That amount was reportedly $10 million a year compared to Heinz’s payment of about $2.85 million annually.
Money aside, the move was generally received as unfavorable. But Heinz is still a sponsor for the Steelers. Fans attending a game can take a photo with one of the scoreboard ketchup bottles and every time the Steelers enter the red zone, ketchup bottles will “pour” ketchup on the scoreboard.
Carrier Dome to JMA Wireless Dome
Questions about what to call the venue where Syracuse plays football, basketball and lacrosse are a common occurrence these days. ‘JMA Wireless Dome’ doesn’t have the same ring as ‘Carrier Dome’ but the change happened, nonetheless. The Orange’s dome was built in 1980 as the Carrier Dome, a name that it had for four decades. JMA Wireless and Syracuse University agreed to a 10-year deal, announced on May 19, though the amount of the contract was undisclosed. JMA’s headquarters is located in Syracuse.
The new name hasn’t quite caught on. Last Tuesday, Virginia men’s basketball played Syracuse and the Cavaliers’ Twitter account marked the team’s location with the facility’s old name. It sparked a civil conversation between two Twitter users, both of whom expressed understanding for the incorrect yet familiar wording.
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Mile High Stadium to Empower Field at Mile High
The Denver Broncos have undergone several name changes over the past few years. The team hasn’t played at Mile High Stadium since 2000, but the name stuck. After leaving the Mile High Stadium behind, the Broncos played at Invesco Field at Mile High before Sports Authority purchased the stadium's naming rights in 2011. The sporting goods company went bankrupt five years later, though, and the Denver NFL team went with Broncos Stadium at Mile High for the next two years.
In 2019, the Broncos and Empower Retirement agreed to a 21-year deal with the retirement company paying the NFL franchise close to $5 million per year, according to a report from 9News. Despite the new name, Mile High Stadium is catchier and easier to remember for many, with some still using the decades-old name.
Reach Louisville football, women's basketball and baseball beat writer Alexis Cubit at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @Alexis_Cubit.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium: Will the new name stick?